October 16, 2006

DigitalLife Show

Last week was a busy one, both for work and play. Thursday I attended the DigitalLife show in New York City. Lots of interesting things were on exhibit there, but I have to say that I wasn't exactly blown away by all that many things. Hmm... anything? I did see one of the nicest HD televisons, a 72" Toshiba (I think). They were showing trailers from the last Harry Potter movie, and it wasn't anything like what they showed in the theaters, much less our homes. It was just awesome. The scene where Harry's underwater, the scenes with him fighting the dragon in the arena with all the rocks around -- just amazing.

I was totally baffled as to Palm's "announcement" and presence at the show. For starters, I went on opening day, Thursday, so that I could be there for Palm's press conference where they would announce new products. I was informed by a friend on the train that they were doing that before the show opened and it was only available to the media. Great. Strike one and it's only 8 am.

I then made it into the city, got to the trade show, and started walking around. My whole focus was on getting to Palm's booth to see whatever it was they had announced. I knew they'd have it displayed there--after all, why announce it and then not show it? I admit I was hoping for a new handheld, maybe a Palm TX2 with more memory and an integrated voice recorder, but I digress. After walking around the show many many times and seeing everything the show had to offer, there was no Palm booth. I asked people. They hadn't seen it. I went to the information booths. They did not know. They remembered Palm was supposed to be there, but they had not seen the booth. I asked other representatives, of other companies (which is usually bad form, but I was desperate) and they were stumped as well. If Palm had a booth at the show, you could have fooled me. They hid it very well. I never did see one. I only found out about the announcement of the new Treo 680 when I came back home.

Some things I did see, and I'll add more to this list later, were the following:

- A nice photo sharing and saving site called Sharpcast. It keeps your photos in sync across all your devices. Make a change to a photo on your laptop, it syncs it to the one on your PC and phone. Make a change to it on your phone, and it's synced to the laptop and PC. Nice. There's free 2GB accounts to be had if you're interested.

- An interesting site called iBloks, where you upload your photos and other media and the service makes a movie out of it for you. Looked neat, and it was heavily advertised at the show, with blue-haired booth babes and all, but when I got home and actually tried it it was disapointing. The videos it created, and I tried many of them, were pretty huge and took forever to load. Plus, the kinds of things it was doing, like adding fade in and fade outs, transitions, etc, can easily be done using either Windows Movie Maker or one of Apple's newish products. I'm sure they're both much better and produce smaller filesize output.

- A movie downloading service called Vongo. What sets this apart, at least for now, is that it allows you to watch it on your computer and take it with you on select portable devices. Nice. Hopefully the list of devices will get bigger, and hopefully other services will offer the same feature too. Portable media already is the hot thing, and this will only continue in the future.

- A game called "Mobile or No Mobile", modeled after "Deal or No Deal", complete with a Howie Mandel lookalike. I didn't get picked to play, but I saw a guy turn down a brand new Toshiba Gigabeat media player for what turned out to be a cheap wireless mouse. Ouch! You've gotta be careful when you choose the contents of a suitcase. I would have went with the Gigabeat.

- Napster had a stripper's booth at the show, with a curtained off area and everything. Not sure how that fit in with their music service, but I didn't go in.

Go here to check out all kinds of pictures from the show. I can honestly say that I saw every one of these things, which means I didn't miss much at all--just Palm.

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